Miku is quite busy lately: she’ll have yet another concert in Sapporo in August (for which 5pb ruled out any possibility of having a live stream) just after her debut in Los Angeles, supercell’s “World is Mine” is occupying the top spots on iTunes, and she also has an English voicebank in the works.
Then she started being obsessed with bacon-wrapped hot dogs. Read on for a recap of the Corolla Miku ads and illustrations Toyota USA has been bringing to us!
It all started with Crypton Future Media and Toyota USA signing a partnership: Miku would finally officially have her debut in the United States, driving her brand new Corolla, while Toyota would be sponsoring her concert at the Los Angeles Anime Expo. The first step was to feature her in a series of ads made by the American media agency InterTrends Communications, with only the first one apparently having been aired on channels targeted at Asian Americans, as well as in Asian countries. This ad, “Dream Harmonic”, came in six versions: two English versions, “Big Dream” and “Compact Dream”, and four versions of the former in Japanese, Korean, Cantonese and Vietnamese (check the video description of Big Dream for the links).
You can see making-of pictures on InterTrends Communications’ Facebook album.
Toyota also released other ads, that for now haven’t been confirmed to have aired on TV. Contrary to Dream Harmonic, these ads focus more on Miku as a person — a light-hearted teenager who enjoys simple pleasures like having a beauty nap, chatting with other girls and falling in love with a bacon-wrapped hot dog, a popular dish in Los Angeles.
However, the first one featured Miku only in music, namely World is Mine, as she doesn’t appear in this flash mob. (The videos are presented in chronological order.)
Toyota also commissioned artists for Miku illustrations; they were featured on posters, on Toyota’s official website, and printed in magazines targeted at Asian Americans. Generally, they are in stark contrast to the usual Miku illustrations fans draw, as Corolla Miku looks much more mature.
The first one to have been released was a poster featuring an angel-like Miku flying over a Corolla; it was drawn by Canadian artist Alvin Lee, who worked for such big video games or comics companies as Capcom, Marvel and DC. This print ad was published on the May issue of KoreAm and Hyphen among other magazines.
Alvin Lee wrote some comments about this work on his deviantART page:
Here’s the unedited 1 of 2 pieces done For Hatsune Miku + Toyota Corolla!
The client had a very specific vision for the piece which is cool because it was really fun to create (and hopefully excel) under specific parameters. She had to be drawn to look a bit older as opposed to Japan in order to cater towards an international market. I tried to find an even middle ground where she would look anime but still digestible to the everyday viewer.
They did give me some creative freedom in how the pose , wings and hair was drawn but in the end the format had to still fit the intended layout. I did explore some new tricks on the hair though.
Had a bunch of fun learning about and creating Hatsune Miku, hope you all like it!!!
[ Press Release from Toyota: Pick up the May issue of Koream, Hyphen or many other magazines for a special collectors edition print of Hatsune Miku. This month, artist Alvin Lee teamed up with Miku and Corolla. ]
Digital Colors provided by the always fire breathing, Man They Call Doe! [link]
TO SEE THE PROCESS FROM START TO FINISH, CHECK OUT MY FB ALBUM HERE: [link]
Next up, another one by Alvin Lee that appeared on Toyota’s website; it was met with criticism by part of the fandom due to similarities with a drawing by Japanese artist Tony Taka, the coloring style, and the way her face was drawn.
Alvin Lee answered some of the criticisms adressed to his work, still on his dA page:
VIEW PROCESS PICS HERE: [link]
In spite of the mixed reviews for this piece, I’m going to stand by my man Doe! [link] The guy totally blew me away with these colors and more importantly the client was also equally as impressed!
**Note** this image was based from Tony Taka’s illustration, I was basically requested to redraw it in a more “mature” style, so consider this as an homage or a remix of the original.
Lee also uploaded the raw pencils of this drawing, giving further details about it and comments on the reception of the illustration.
Here’s the RAW PENCILS of the second piece for the Hatsune Miku + Corolla Campaign! [link]
I’ve been getting some very mixed reviews for this piece and I welcome it! Discussion is always good and never bad. It’s what free-thinking minds should do, and honestly I learn quite a lot from them!
The Argument at large here is that it doesn’t look quite Anime enough or “OTAKU” for Hatsune Miku and also that I copied Tony Taka’s original drawing.
In my defense the client wanted her to look less Otaku and more “mature” specifically in her eyes, being a little slimmer. Aso the hair was requested to have more individual strands, to cater to a “sexier” American market. (However I will note that the nipple and side boob was strategically removed in the final.)
In terms of the piece looking like Tony Taka’s, that was fully intentional. It seemed the client really liked that specific pose and simply had me redraw it. I submitted many variations anyway (which I will post as process pics later) but in the end…Tony Taka’s still won the day! what can I say, it’s a great pose! Just consider this piece an homage or like a remix of the original.
I’ll admit, some of the digital colors on this piece ended up turning out little more realistic than I originally intended but I must stand by my man DOE, because I was blown away by his work on this piece. More importantly, so was the client!!!
I will post the digital colors soon, just wanted to give you a little taste and perhaps a little more insight into this piece.
Also I will note that artist Zain has now done an awesome new version of the print Ad for June, I believe that this is to illustrate to the public that these are just artist interpretations… Miku will always be Miku!
Like it or hate it? You be the judge!
Another artist commissioned by Toyota was Zain (known as zain7 on deviantART), a Japanese artist. His first Corolla Miku drawing was his take on “flying Miku”; it was used in print in the June issue of KoreAm, as well as Audrey and other Asian American magazines.
Another one presumably by Zain (according to the Vocaloid Wikia, though no official source seems to prove it) is currently featured at the top of the Corolla Miku page.
It was also featured on official cars during Anime Expo 2011, both of which were on display in the front lobby of LACC and in front of the Nokia Theatre. (Photos courtesy of redemption2)
No details on who drew the second one.
We’ll update the article as more ads and illustrations surface!
Art is, at its core, a matter of taste, and it’s not surprising that some of these works received mixed reviews. Crypton is a small company, and they couldn’t possibly have promoted Miku by themselves in such a large scale; the means can be criticized, but the end is clear: having such renowned and talented artists as well as one of the biggest companies in the world use Miku’s image is yet another opportunity for Vocaloid to spread around the globe.